So says The Guardian, which lists the Miles Davis performance on August 29, 1970 in front of 600,000 people at the Isle of Wight at #38 in their series of the 50 key events in the history of Jazz music.
Writes Richard Williams:
The coolest man on the planet took the stage at the Isle of Wight festival towards the end of the afternoon on Saturday 29 August 1970. He followed Joni Mitchell (who had been forced to deal with a one-man stage invasion by a stoned hippy before ending her set with a pointed version of Woodstock) and Tiny Tim (who had delighted the listeners by crooning There’ll Always Be an England while strumming his ukelele like George Formby’s American nephew).
The weather was balmy, a hot-air balloon hovered above Afton Down, the crowd numbered 600,000, the situationists agitating for free entry had quietened down, and Miles Davis was about to perform to the biggest audience ever faced by a jazz musician, before or since.
It should be noted that the Miles Davis release of Kind of Blue in 1959 was The Guardian’s #28 in their series of the ’50 key events in the history of jazz music. I would have slotted it higher, but oh well.
Photograph: David Redfern/Redferns